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Drive around Khayelitsha

Drive around Khayelitsha, one of South Africa's biggest and fastest-growing townships, and football is impossible to ignore. There are hundreds of teams, thousands of players and five dedicated local football associations.

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Makeshift goal frames stand amid the rolling debris-filled fields, with pitches of various shapes and sizes squeezed among the streets and settlements.

As the school buses and work taxis return for the evening, countless players can be seen shuffling towards their matches and training sessions as the sun goes down.

Football is thriving but, despite the foundation of a Fifa Football for Hope Centre during the 2010 World Cup, and initiatives from local top-flight team Cape Town City FC, there is still a big gap between Khayelitsha and the rest of the football world.

This is the kind of area - a mixture of formal and informal homes in a makeshift city of concrete and corrugated metal, sprawling across 'the flats' on Cape Town's outskirts - that was supposed to benefit from having football's showpiece event on its doorstep.

'Legacy' is a popular buzzword in major tournament bids, but for the millions of people who live here, football remains an escape but not a route to a career.

'Scouts don't come here often - it's perceived as too dangerous'

Notorious for gang violence and its criminal subculture, Khayelitsha is in the top 10 areas for crime in the whole of South Africa, with nearly 3,500 contact crimes (192 of them murder) reported in the township during 2018.

With both education and employment opportunities limited for young people growing up there, a lot of importance is placed upon football to help keep them on track.

"Football does wonders in our community to help keep the boys in school and off the streets," said Dumisani Madondile, 42, a long-term Khayelitsha resident.

"But there are still lots of barriers for them in life, let alone in football, particularly as potential aspiring players.

"Scouts don't come to townships very often - it's perceived as too dangerous. They will go to the academies in the affluent areas instead. There is very little pathway for these kids, in reality.

"There have been plenty of boys with the potential and the talent. But there's definitely more 'what could have been' stories than successful ones.

"The lasting impact of the World Cup? We don't see a legacy. It's not there."

 
Author's Notes/Comments: 
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my ode to every Cardiff City Player 7/3/2019

Folder: 
sport

 

MY ODE TO EVERY PLAYER OF CARDIFF CITY FOOTBALL CLUB

Greetings Bluebirds how do?

Had to write a poem to you

about what its like to be blue

and to see if it rings true

with you!

 

team spirits splintered maybe?

this club has pedigree

Against the odds chemistry

Fighting English supremacy

THIS TIME SUCCESSFULLY!

 

3000 at Ninian Park

Like a great white shark

now atmosphere of our old park

Fighting like the Bismarck

Is the benchmark

 

Came away hoarse

par of the course

a give all endorse

you are its driving force

STAY THE COURSE

 

if you don't want to fight go home

or just end your loan

nose to the grindstone

FIND YOUR BACKBONE

DO NOT MOAN

 

playing teams with more quality

your strength is a colony

being united creates escape velocity

turns possibility into probability

MODESTLY

 

This club don’t do Ego's

None around 40 years ago

No Aston's then at home

all about the badge on show

AND GIVING ALL

 

Ain't about the cars on show

or if your looking Beau

Others ain't got your unity

United like The Navaho

DONT LET GO

 

Cos that's all you got

better cars in other parking lot's

better footballers in other blocks

but one thing they ain’t got

OUR unity of a surgeons knot!

Author's Notes/Comments: 

 

Saw the word 'splintered' in dispatches and that really is not becoming of our club. Look we have never had the greatest of players over the years and anyone decent was traditionally sold off to keep the club going, but we have always had fighting spirit to compensate for a lack of quality so please get off the beach in your head and get in the fight! And if your not a fighter then honestly what are you doing here? It was always going to be a battle from day one and you have done us proud so far, but the job isn't done yet. I watched the Wolves game. Everybody is tipping them for great things yet take the 2 goals out of that equation and there literally was nothing between the teams. And look at the money they have spent too! Team spirit can even things up, but;

 

for the edge that you undoubtedly need, you have to BELIEVE!

YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE THERE'S NOT A TEAM IN THE PREM THAT HAVE WHAT YOU HAVE

UNITY!

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